County of Hawai‘i Planning Department Releases the Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan for Public Comment and Announces Community Meeting

The County of Hawai‘i Planning Department announces the release of the Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan (DHMMP) Public Review Draft and the kickoff of the public review period, which runs through March 6, 2017.

The DHMMP Draft can be downloaded online at Written comments may be sent by e-mail to, or by mail to the County of Hawaiʻi Planning Department at 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3, Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720.

A community meeting is planned for February 15, 2017 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue. The event will include open house displays and a presentation on the DHMMP Draft at 5:00 pm. Discussion and input are encouraged.

Please contact Melissa White at (808) 628-5861 or if you wish to request an auxiliary aid or service, other reasonable modification, or language interpretation to access this meeting no later than February 10, five days prior to the event, to arrange for accommodations.


The Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan (DHMMP) has its roots in EnVision Downtown Hilo 2025: A Community-Based Vision and Living Action Plan, which set a community-defined and shared vision for Downtown Hilo as a vibrant, sustainable, safe, healthy, and active community.  Action item number 6.1 of the EnVision 2025 Plan is: “development of a master plan to include traffic circulation, parking, and pedestrian streetscape.” The County of Hawaii Planning Department initiated the DHMMP to fulfill this action item and craft a plan that can be implemented to achieve the community’s shared goals.

The Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan was developed over a two-year period and refined through more than 15 community events, from focus groups with Downtown users, landowners, and businesses to a community event that included activities and demonstrations of complete streets concepts. Input indicated strong support for making Downtown Hilo more walkable, bike friendly, and vibrant for people of all ages and abilities.

Eight major themes emerged as part of the community outreach process that represented important needs and issues to be addressed through multimodal improvements.  These became the DHMMP’s organizing themes:

  • Improve Downtown Hilo’s multimodal environment and connectivity to key destinations;
  • Celebrate and elevate Keawe Street’s identity as Downtown Hilo’s “Main Street”;
  • Improve multimodal connections between Downtown Hilo and the Bayfront;
  • Highlight Kamehameha Avenue as a retail and visitor destination by improving the pedestrian-friendly environment along the building frontage and adjacent mauka-makai streets;
  • Make bicycling attractive and safe, with a more complete bicycle network and supporting facilities;
  • Calm traffic to slow speeds through Downtown and direct through-traffic to alternate routes to achieve a more walkable environment;
  • Incorporate parking and transit solutions that make it easier to “park once and walk” to destinations in Downtown Hilo;
  • Ensure improvements preserve and enhance Downtown Hilo’s character and charm and make it more inviting and safe.

Alternatives and final recommendations for six multimodal transportation components were developed and refined with extensive input from the community and key stakeholders: 1) circulation patterns; 2) pedestrian improvements; 3) bicycle facilities; 4) parking; 5) transit; and 6) streetscape design. The DHMMP includes phasing recommendations for implementing the proposed improvements.

For additional information, please contact Hans Santiago at (808) 961-8288 or

Kehena Beach Drowning Victim Identified

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation into the death of a North Kohala man who was swimming in rough water at Kehena Beach in Pāhoa, Sunday afternoon (January 22).

Kehena Beach

Police and Fire Department personnel responded to a 12:06 p.m. call of a man in distress in the water off the Kehena Beach shore. Several people attempted to assist the man back to shore but were unable to get to him due to the rough ocean conditions. The swimmer was last seen going under the water. His body was later recovered by fire/rescue personnel approximately 100 feet from shore.

He has been identified as 43-year-old Erik Collins of Kapaʻau.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Food and Drug Administration Issues Warning Letter to Hawaii Company

Following inspections, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter that was recently made public to a Hawaii company that produces tuna sandwiches.

Hawaiian Ono Services Inc., Honolulu has 15 days to respond to FDA the warning letter in writing. FDA has not yet issued a closeout letter for the company as of this post.

Click to read warning letter

In a Jan. 10 warning letter to owner and president, Sung Cha Ku, the FDA cited “serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation” in the Federal Code. An FDA inspection on dec. 8-9, 2016, revealed the problems.

“… your refrigerated ready-to-eat tuna salad sandwiches, containing cooked tuna, are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” according to the warning letter.

Violations included failure to have a HACCP plan to “control the food safety hazards of histamine, pathogen growth, allergens and metal inclusion;” employees’ failure to follow proper hygiene practices while handling food with their bare hands; and using a sanitizer solution that didn’t have any sanitizer in it.

“Similar observations of poor employee hygienic practices have been made during our previous inspections of your facility,” the warning letter states.

“We may take further action if you do not promptly correct these violations. For instance, we may take further action to seize your products and/or enjoin your firm from operating.”

Hawaii House Leadership Reacts to State of the State Address

House Speaker Joseph Souki said Gov. David Ige’s State of the State Address did not contain any real surprises, but he is happy the speech showed support for education, rail on Oahu and making adjustments to the administration’s proposed state budget.

Photo Courtesy House Democrats

“We need to collaborate to get this done. He’ll have to make some (budget) adjustments, but for the foreseeable future, the economy doesn’t look bad,” said Souki.

Souki said even though the Council on Revenues predicts less tax income for the state in the near future, the three basic elements of our economy – tourism, military support and construction – all are performing strong right now.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said he supports the governor’s goal of investing to create a better school system, but hopes to see the details of his plan flushed out in the bills he submits to the Legislature.

2017 Hawaii State of the State Address – FULL TEXT

Mister Speaker, President Kouchi, former governors, distinguished justices of the courts, representatives of our congressional delegation, members of the Hawaii State Legislature, elected officials, military leaders, honored guests, family and friends,


From Senator Kaiali’i Kahele’s Facebook page.

Last December, I had the privilege of participating in ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor—the day when all that was personal and intimate here in the islands collided head-on with history.

In 1941, my late father was about the same age as my children are today.  He was young and just starting to plan out his life.

We know how those events dramatically changed those plans for him and his entire generation.

Life has a way of doing that, no matter how well our plans are laid out.

It made me think deeply about both where we’ve been and where we’re headed as a state.

While we cannot predict the future, it’s clear to me that we are living in very challenging and exciting times.

And we face these times standing on solid ground.

Continue reading

Big Island Police Identify Woman Swept Away By Flash Flood

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation into the death of a Honokaʻa woman who was swept away by rushing rain water Saturday night (January 21).

Beth Radl Facebook profile picture

She has been identified as 47-year-old Beth R. Radl.

Police and Fire Department personnel responded to a 10:42 p.m. Saturday that Radl had tried to cross a “river” of rushing water near her home on the 3900 block of Kahana Drive, when she was swept away by the knee-high water.

Her body was located at 5:29 a.m. Sunday (January 22) in a stream about a quarter-mile away.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Hawaii Circuit Court Criminal and Family Court Criminal Cases Now Available Online

The Hawaii State Judiciary now has more court documents available for online viewing.  Circuit and family court criminal case documents filed January 23, 2017 and thereafter will be available for download and purchase online through eCourt Kokua.  This will supplement the current traffic, district court criminal, and appellate cases presently available on eCourt Kokua.  Civil case information will continue to be available through Ho’ohiki.

Because of this successful transition, improved services will be available internally as well as to the public: documents can be shared electronically and instantaneously between court locations; more court records will be accessible to the public for online viewing and purchase;  attorneys will be able to take advantage of e-filing these case types anytime of the day; and law enforcement will be able to get felony bench warrants electronically, eliminating data entry and filing of hard copies with new electronic warrants.

There is a transition team standing by to answer any questions about e-filing or any other technical questions.  Please call (808) 534-6644.  For all other public inquiries, please call the Communications & Community Relations Office at (808) 539-4909.

Bicycle Rider Killed on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway

A 42-year-old Kona man died in a vehicle-bicycle crash Saturday afternoon (January 21) in Kona near the 98-mile marker of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway.

He has been identified as Richard Topenio of Kailua-Kona.

Responding to a 1:53 p.m. call, police determined that a red 2011 Ford pickup truck had been traveling south on Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway when it veered onto the shoulder of the roadway and collided with Topenio, who was riding his bicycle southbound on the shoulder of the highway. Topenio sustained critical injuries from the collision and was taken to Kona community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:25 p.m. Saturday.

The operator of the truck, 60-year-old Jeffrey Pelham of Kamuela, was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. He was later released pending further investigation.

It is not immediately known if speed was a factor in the crash.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the third traffic fatality this year compared with none at this time last year.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Public Notice of Flight Operations

Photos from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by NPS Volunteer Eric Fandrick

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for the end of January 2017:

  • Jan. 23, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and Jan. 26 between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., to shuttle equipment and camp supplies to Keauhou for invasive plant control work at the coast
  • Jan. 23, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., to remove old fence material from ‘Ōla‘a Tract
  • Jan. 23, 24, 25 and 26, between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., to shuttle crew and remove fence material and camp equipment from petrel subcolony on Mauna Loa at about 9,000-ft. elevation
  • Jan. 24, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., for ungulate surveys and control work in Kahuku Unit, between 3,000- and 7,000 ft. elevation
  • Jan. 24, between noon and 3:30 p.m., to shuttle fence material and camp supplies to Great Crack boundary fence
  • Jan. 24, between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., to shuttle equipment and materials for interpretive display near the Ka‘ū Desert Trailhead
  • Jan. 25, between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., to shuttle personnel, fence material, and water tank to Kahuku Unit silversword exclosure and along the Kahuku-Kapapala boundary
  • Jan. 26, between noon and 4 p.m., for invasive fountain grass surveys from coastal areas to southwest boundary below 3,000-ft. elevation

In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation.

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.